National Aboriginal Mining Conference Wraps Up In Winnipeg
Manitoba News Release
April 15, 2008
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Creation of the Crown-Aboriginal Consultation Unit Announced
Mining opportunities and best practices for Aboriginal communities were among the outcomes of the recently-completed Learning Together – An Aboriginal Approach to Mining Relationships Conference in Winnipeg.Science, Technology, Energy and Mines Minister Jim Rondeau today congratulated conference organizers and committed to developing further initiatives to improve relations with First Nations communities.
“Manitoba was proud to host the third annual national conference,” said Rondeau. “Our government is committed to continuing to develop opportunities for First Nations and Aboriginal communities to learn more about the mining and exploration business in Manitoba.”
The two-day conference, supported by Manitoba Aboriginal and Northern Affairs and Manitoba Science, Technology, Energy and Mines, involved more than 180 registrants from across Canada including the Osoyoos First Nation in British Columbia and the Naskapi Nation of Kawawachikamach, Quebec, who spoke to their economic development experiences related to mining. Representatives from 12 Manitoba First Nations as well as 25 Métis youth also actively participated in the gathering.
In related initiatives, the provincial government also announced the creation of the Crown-Aboriginal Consultation Unit.
“As part of the Government of Manitoba’s constitutional duty to consult with Aboriginal peoples in Manitoba, I am honoured to officially announce the creation and establishment of our new
Crown-Aboriginal Consultation Unit,” said Aboriginal and Northern Affairs Minister Oscar Lathlin. “The unit is a critical component in Manitoba’s relationship with First Nations and Métis communities. We believe this unit will further the process of reconciliation and understanding between the Crown, as represented by Manitoba and Aboriginal communities.”
The mandate and role of the Crown-Aboriginal Consultation Unit is to facilitate Crown-Aboriginal consultations for the provincial government on proposed large-scale projects, as well as developing an overall government strategy on Crown-Aboriginal consultations and providing education and training on consultation policy and guidelines to government departments and First Nations and Métis communities. The unit is contained in the Department of Aboriginal and Northern Affairs and works with other departments on Crown consultation issues.
Lathlin noted the Government of Manitoba recognizes it has a duty to consult with Aboriginal communities when any proposed provincial law, regulation, decision or action may affect any constitutional right of that community.
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